Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams encourages all voters to cast their votes through absentee ballots for the delayed primary election on June 23. Adams said the state has created a secure online portal for absentee votes to be cast conveniently.
“We're creating an online portal through the State Board of Elections so that people can go directly online and punch in verifying information, we make people verify their identity to get a ballot. We don't just mail them out to the voter file,” Adams said. “We made absentee voting easier. We're hoping that probably 80 or even 90% of voters vote absentee so we can take the strain off our poll workers in our polling sites.”
Absentee voting has been expanded, he said, and ballots can be mailed back or brought into the clerk’s office by hand.
“A lot of voters are not comfortable with the mail system, they don't trust it, they want to personally drop their ballot off. And we respect that,” Adams said.
The state has also expanded early voting. Adams said some counties have early voting, some don't. He says the state’s universal standard for this election is 15 days prior to election day. Adams said by Monday, June 8, every county in the state will be compelled to start early voting.
“The idea is we want to encourage people who intend to vote in person, we encourage them to vote absentee if they can, but if they insist on or need to vote in person, then they can do so in a span of two weeks,” Adams said.
Individuals intending to vote in-person are being encouraged to make an appointment with their county clerk. According to Adams, the state board of elections has every county clerk in the state submit a written plan that explains specifically how many polling sites and poll workers they're going to have.
Adams said he wants to eliminate direct contact between poll workers and voters and between voters and other voters. This will include transitioning from voting machines to paper ballots.
“We want to phase out the touchscreen machines. I was actually in favor of doing that. I testified during sessions in favor of moving to 100% paper ballots. One of the upsides of this reform is it actually puts us on track to do that,” Adams said. “We drew down federal funds to buy new machines, scanners and paper ballots so that we can transition away from electronic machines that voters have concerns about being secure, being hackable, move away from electronic machines toward paper.”
The deadline to register to vote for the primary is May 26. People can register to vote online at GoVoteKy.com. Every registered voter in the state is going to get a postcard in the next couple of weeks with instructions on how to vote through an absentee ballot or safely vote in person.